GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — Residents rallied together to help out local merchants and their employees this Saturday, which was more important this year due to the COVID chaos.
Lora Gutierrez, manager of Old Friends Trading Co, says, “it’s very important because we’ve had a pretty slow season due to everything thats going on.” However, the novel virus isn’t scaring away customers since each store says they are following standard safety measures.
Still, small businesses are struggling more than national department stores, and while Walmart or Amazon may have better prices, there are some deals that big corporations cannot compete with. Chris Brown, owner of Brown Cycles, says, “it’s really the quality of customer service. You can go to a big box and get just about anything, but if you have to replace it every 2 weeks, what have you done.”
Therefore, Small Business Saturday is meant to divert customers from national chains to local businesses. In addition, the shopping holiday is about celebrating your favorite local retailers. Patti Heartstill, owner of Small Mall on Main, says, “the local support is so important, and we always appreciate our locals.”
Downtown businesses are also banding together to promote shopping at small stores. Heartstill, says, “every business and every store isn’t for everybody, but we all work together just to remind folks to come downtown and spend as much money as possible.” For instance, anyone with a receipt from a downtown business, was able to get a free coffee from Kiln Coffee Bar, and the coffee shop wasn’t worried about losing a profit. Fonz from Kiln Coffee Bar, says, “we’re all about growing our community. We are not about competition. We are not about profits. We are about helping everybody in town achieve what they want to do. And we want to better our town.”